Long ago, when your three year old's imaginary friend was this woman...
(everyone remembers when Viola Swamp lived with us, right?)
...you simply cannot be all that surprised when that same girl, seven years down the line, becomes a huge fan of this woman:
and especially when she's playing this woman:
Helena Bonham Carter, there is an almost ten year old American girl out there who adores you. This girl's parents aren't 100% sure they're on board with the crazy bit, but they have to give it to you—you are one talented crazy woman.
Matt, Maddie, and I watched all eight Harry Potter movies in the month after Christmas and while Maddie would never root against her heroine Hermione (or Harry or Ron or Neville or Professor McGonagall, etc.), she was completely enamored with Bellatrix Lestrange. And really, when you connect the dots beginning with Viola Swamp? Totally predictable. We cannot for the life of us figure out how this sweet, rule-following child of ours developed this affinity in the first place, but that's beside the point.
The interesting thing is this: Bellatrix Lestrange was not Maddie's first introduction to Helena Bonham Carter. In November, I bought an app called iF Poetry that was recommended by the anti-Helena Bonham Carter (Gwyneth Paltrow) in her newsletter Goop. It is a fantastic collection of poems for children and their grown-ups; the really fantastic part, however, is when Maddie discovered that a whole bunch of the poems are a little on the darkly humorous/mildly macabre side. These are poems that appeal to the part of her brain that once created what we refer to as "bited" stories. (Remember those?) You can listen to many of the poems in-app, read by none other than Helena Bonham Carter. True joy: the first time Maddie listened to Act 4 Scene 1 of Macbeth (Double, Double, Toil and Trouble), recited by HBC. That was worth the $1.99 I paid for that app right there. Bill Nighy is the other reader, and he does a fine job, too. Especially when he reads Lewis Carroll poems, which are usually just weird enough to pass the Madeline Test with flying colors.
So the point is, Maddie's eyes got wide and excited when she recognized that voice, come to life in the creepy, evil Bellatrix Lestrange. She is even considering her as a potential candidate for her next literary Halloween costume. It would not be the first time she's dressed as a literary witch. Heh.
One final Helena Bonham Carter story: we recently happened upon a gold mine find in the On-Demand section of our cable; while searching for something to watch a few Saturdays ago, I spotted the 2011 Academy Award Nominees for Short Animation collection. I had no idea that our beloved Gruffalo was made into a short film that got nominated last year for an Academy Award. I've never thought of The Gruffalo as a particularly dark or scary story—mostly silly, actually—but when Helena Bonham Carter narrates it? WATCH. OUT. Every single Dillow was entranced. You can buy it on iTunes for $5.99. Worth every penny. : )